Proposed HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement Rule Blatantly Violates Use of Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, today joined eight colleagues in submitting a comment letter in “fervent opposition” to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed rule that would sanction the use taxpayer dollars for abortions for minors at the border.

Led by U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.), the letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra condemns the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) proposed “Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule, 88 FR 68908” and seeks its immediate withdrawal.

“We write today in fervent opposition to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) proposed rule, ‘Unaccompanied Children Program Foundational Rule,’ which blatantly violates prohibitions on the use of federal funds to facilitate abortions and ignores the best interest of the unaccompanied minor.  The proposed rule should be immediately withdrawn,” the Senators wrote. 

“Instead of adhering to the law, responding to Congressional inquiry, heeding Congress’ warning, and treating unaccompanied minors with the dignity and respect they deserve as young mothers, HHS ORR has decided to codify these flagrant violations of the Hyde Amendment through the proposed rule,” the letter continues.

Since 1976, Congress has included the Hyde Amendment in annual appropriations bills to restrict HHS from funding elective abortions.

“Any final rule regarding the care of UACs should expressly respect state laws regarding the protection of unborn life, honor federal conscience and religious freedom protections, and ensure that no HHS policies prioritize abortion over the care of UACs or following the law,” the Senators recommended.  

U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also signed the letter.  The deadline to submit public comments on the proposed rule is Dec. 4, 2023.

Becerra is slated to testify at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to review President Biden’s request for almost $14 billion in supplemental funding for “border security,” humanitarian and refugee assistance, processing capacity, court operations, and legal support for migrants.

Read the full letter here.